Week commencing 19 February 2018

In today's bulletin

• UK commercial property investment reaches £4.2bn
• Demand for housing remains resilient, says Rightmove

• European Union could double use of renewables by 2030
• BP: Oil demand to peak by late 2030s

Property, Planning and Regeneration

UK commercial property investment reaches £4.2bn

UK commercial property investment rose by 66 per cent to £4.2 billion in January 2018, compared to the same month last year, according to data from Savills published on 20 February.
In its February Market in Minutes report, the real estate advisor said industrial sectors led the way and that overseas investors were responsible for nearly a fifth of all investment.

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Demand for housing remains resilient, says Rightmove

In its latest House Price Index Rightmove has reported that demand for housing has remained resilient, with average asking prices up £2,414 in February.
However, while all regions but the South West have seen prices of newly-marketed properties increase, the annual rate of increase remains low at 1.5 per cent due to London’s year-on-year fall of -1 per cent.

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600 more rental homes a week need to be built, according to think tank

Analysis published by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) on 18 February shows that nearly 600 additional low-cost rented homes need to be built every week to keep up with growing demand and help low income families.
The JRF has said the UK government should use its forthcoming Social Housing Green paper to commit to building 78,000 affordable homes a year

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Government announces plans to improve housing complaints system

Housing Secretary Sajid Javid MP has announced that the UK government is considering options to change the housing complaints system, so future disputes can be resolved faster and consumers can access compensation where it is owed.
In an eight week consultation, launched on 18 February, the UK government is asking for peoples’ views on how they think this can be achieved.

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Transport

BP: Oil demand to peak by late 2030s

According to the 2018 edition of BP’s Energy Outlook, published on 20 February, global oil demand will peak in the late 2030s.
The report claims that electric vehicle use will revolutionise the transport sector, which will continue to dominate oil demand – accounting for more than half of the overall growth.

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UK Rail steams ahead with ground breaking partnership

On 22 February the UK rail sector launched the UK Rail Research and Innovation Network (UKRRIN).
This partnership between eight universities and the rail industry will include four Centres of Excellence, supported by industrial partners, to deliver research covering rolling stock, infrastructure, digital systems and testing.

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UK business set to benefit from Network Rail work-bank

Significant investment in UK companies is set to commence next year as Network Rail begins its procurement for a multi-billion-pound investment programme.
On 13 February Network Rail issued its Strategic Business Plan which outlines £47 billion of potential expenditure during its next five-year funding period, 2019-2024 Control Period 6

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Energy and environment

European Union could double use of renewables by 2030

Advances in technology could double the share of renewables in the European Union’s energy mix from 17 per cent to 34 per cent, according to a report published by the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena) on 20 February.
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Too many serious water pollution incidents, according to Environment Agency

The Environment Agency’s chair, Emma Howard Boyd, has called on water companies and farmers to slash the number of serious pollution incidents after a new report from the Environment Agency revealed that last year saw 317 cases of serious water pollution.

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Government’s air pollution plans deemed “unlawful” for a third time

On 21 February the High Court in London ruled in favour of environmental lawyers to declare that the government’s failure to act on illegal levels of air pollution within 45 local authorities was unlawful.
This represents the third time in three years that the UK government has been taken to court over the issue, where it has yet to secure a decision in its favour.

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UK energy stats show rise in renewable generation

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has released its energy statistics for December 2017.
Figures, published on 22 February, showed record high production from low carbon generation, accounting for 47 per cent of supply – up from 42.5 per cent in 2016. The boost in output is largely attributed to increased generation from wind and an improved capacity of solar energy.

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Other News

ONS figures show slight rise in unemployment

Unemployment in the UK rose by 0.1 per cent in the three months to December, according to figures released by the Office for National Statistics on 21 February.
The 46,000 person increase means that the number of unemployed people now stands at 1.47 million, with two-thirds of the increase attributable to 16-24 year olds.

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